The Rev. B. W. “Pete” Woodward, Jr. Prize is given in recognition of a Holderness graduate in their junior year of college for academic performance, exceptional leadership and contributions made to their college community.
This year we have the honor of awarding this prize to two outstanding and deserving recipients.
Kathy Liech ’18
When we say that Senior Thesis can serve as a springboard for future studies or a career or a lifelong passion, we aren’t kidding. Just look at Kathy Liech ’18. Kathy’s Senior Thesis at Holderness sparked her desire to found Girls Pride, a non-profit organization based in Northern Kenya that raises awareness, provides support for, and educates and empowers women in the eradication of female genital mutilation. What began as an essential question nurtured in the classrooms on this campus has turned into a cause with a profound mission and impact. The ability to balance leading such an organization, often remotely, with the demands of a full-time student speaks to the character and capability of Kathy Liech. And as a student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Kathy approaches her studies in Psychology and Entrepreneurialism with just as much vigor.
Kathy leads with tremendous empathy. As a residential assistant, she seeks to understand those students she interacts with on a daily basis and build a culture of respect. She advocates against gender-based violence, supports telemedicine efforts in Kenya as a program coordinator, and volunteers at children's hospitals and pediatric departments when possible. The other-centered nature of her work has earned her the Elizabeth and Ruth Young Peace Prize for her contributions to the cause of peace.
In her own words, Kathy says, “I believe everyone has something to contribute to society in their own way and recognizing that everyone is different and has their own unique way of looking at things helps me interact and understand the community around me better.” She sees the promise and possibility of those around her and, in true embodiment of our definition of leadership, seeks to serve and empower others. What an honor it is to present you with the Rev. B.W. “Pete” Woodward, Jr. Prize.
Ellie Batchelder ’18
Civic engagement, environmental justice, scholarship, and servant leadership. It’s almost like Ellie Batchelder ’18 can do it all. Recently elected Senior Class Co-President at Colby College, Ellie is putting her Environmental Policy and Government double major to serious use. When not conducting research on the political polarization and concepts of rural resentment in the United States or recruiting and managing voting captains to register voters for the 2020 election, Ellie supports Colby College students and encourages outdoor enthusiasts to consider action on climate policy as part of Protect our Winters. She also volunteers at the Kittery Land Trust to provide fresh produce for local food pantries. She’s been a member of the Colby Track and Field Team and plays violin in the college orchestra. And she does it all with dogged determination and, as her award nomination states, “with gusto, curiosity, and purpose.”
A true servant leader, Ellie wants to make a difference not just in the world, but for the world. Her research into Maine’s fisheries and its relationship with endangered right whales or the ethical basis for mandatory health insurance only serve to feed her curiosity in the pursuit of service to others. She’s described as a change-maker, and that could not be more accurate. Ellie, we are so excited to support you as you make the world a better place, and we are deeply honored to present you with the Rev. B.W. “Pete” Woodward, Jr. Prize.